Healthcare staffing companies provide temporary and permanent staffing solutions for healthcare facilities, including clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other medical institutions. These organizations specialize in recruiting and placing healthcare professionals in various roles, including registered nurses, physical therapists, medical assistants, etc.
Founded by Mr. Henry Lukenge in late 2009, NEXIM Healthcare Consultants Inc. is one such countrywide provider of contingent, planned, and un-planned health and social care staff to hospitals, community living organizations, families with individuals who have developmental delays, and homecare through its Retire@home program for seniors retiring at with their homes. Other value-added services Nexim Healthcare provides include, but are not limited to, call assurance, home modifications to enable elders to stay in their homes, non-ambulatory transportation, and wheelchair-accessible transportation.
The Steadfast Leader
Born and brought up in a family of entrepreneurs, Mr. Lukenge has seen his father run one of the first indigenously owned construction companies in Uganda during the mid-70’s. Initially, Mr. Lukenge worked at his father’s construction company and learned various skills.
In the late 80s, he moved to England with his eight siblings and parents after surviving the conflict and displacement from Uganda. Mr. Lukenge completed his high school in England and joined the University to study Mathematical statistics, a career he had little interest in, but with limited command of the English language, his choices was limited. Later Mr. Lukenge went back to school for the professional accounting exams at the Association of Chartered certified accountants-UK- which combined his great love for numbers, problem-solving, and people engagement. With his outstanding performances in the CA program, he was then hired to join the articling program at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms in the U.K. Eventually, he rose through the ranks to become a junior tax partner – leading larger tax compliance, audit, and financial risk analysis projects across Europe, South East Asia, and Africa before being headhunted for an investment banking role in Canada’s one of the largest Trust Funds as a Director of Investor Services.
So, in 2006, Mr. Lukenge relocated to Canada. He served the Trust Fund for nearly three years until he got disillusioned and unhappy with his career and decided to walk away from the finance and accounting industry to start his own business.
Initially, Mr. Lukenge wasn’t sure about the nature of his new business. So, he took his time out and visited his mother in Kampala, Uganda, who advised him to set up a healthcare staffing company focused on providing thought staffing solutions to help leading sector players in the health and social care sector fulfill their staffing needs.
Eventually, in late 2009 Mr. Lukenge returned to Toronto, sold all of his real estate, prepared a business plan, and established NEXIM Healthcare as a business.
Revolutionizing Healthcare Staffing
When Mr. Lukenge founded Nexim, he wanted to create a company that would revolutionize the healthcare staffing industry while using some of its net income and technical expertise to advance access to education, wildlife conservation, and the fight against climate change in the third world. Mr. Lukenge’s life journey began in Iddi Amin’s Uganda, East Africa via South Africa where he overcame apartheid and a refugee camp to become a CA, enter the largest board rooms, and achieve the enormous success he never imagined possible because he was able to attend school when the majority of the children he was displaced with failed to do so. This is one of the main reasons why Mr. Lukenge established NEXIM more than a decade ago. Through NEXIM, Mr. Lukenge offers internships to inner-city kids who are starting their careers and have no places to find internships, so they don’t have to go through what Mr. Lukenge went through when starting his career in 1990s South London, England
“The day NEXIM Broke even is the milestone I’m most proud of, but my greatest career achievement to date was the day I retired from my career as an Investment Banker leaving a whole life to start a new one. Best decision I have ever made in my life.”- he states.
Primary Challenges of the Healthcare Industry
As NEXIM Healthcare’s founder, Mr. Lukenge always prefers to call challenges opportunities for growth. According to him, the primary challenges lie in the lack of qualified and employable candidates and longer wait times for internationally educated healthcare professionals to be integrated into the Canadian healthcare system because there are no updated and precise professional competence requirements for IEHPs entering the country. Also, the incompatibility between the provincial and federal immigration policies with healthcare professionals’ credential accrediting organizations and the less than adequate supply of amenities like transit and short-term rental units in the hard-to-serve areas of the provinces poses a significant challenge for the industry.
However, Mr. Lukenge and his team at NEXIM are working with all levels of the government, professional accrediting agencies, hospitals, and various stakeholders to help capitalize on these opportunities. Presently, NHCI is setting up its own private career college with a focus on controlling access to training opportunities for healthcare staff and helping with faster integration of IEHPs into the labor force.
NEXIM is also working with the government and other professional accrediting organizations to simplify protocols so IEHPs coming to Canada can be granted shorter wait times to appear for the practice compliance tests. Additionally, with its facilities management unit, NEXIM is building a unique ecosystem consisting of short-term accommodation, site-to-site transportation, and several other amenities for staff who are willing to relocate for projects in hard-to-serve areas. In the process, the organization has created an entirely new business unit through which it has built a substantial real estate portfolio for its stakeholders while providing reliable services to its clients.
“Our vision is to become a leading healthcare manpower planning leader across North America through a combination of local and international healthcare human capital talent acquisition, placement, and career development in partnership with public, private, and Inter -government stakeholders,”- Mr. Lukenge explains.
Assisting Clients During the Pandemic
Overall, the pandemic proved advantageous for NEXIM and gave the business an ideal balance of risk and reward to expand its services. During the pandemic, NEXIM Healthcare grew its service area to the entire province and became a province-wide provider of its services. Due to its ability to combine lodging, site-to-site transportation, and the creation of isolation hubs for staff supporting various clients, NEXIM Healthcare quickly established itself as the go-to business for anyone in its region experiencing a COVID-related staffing crisis.
“Through earlier preparations and a solid business plan that prepared us for the pandemic without us actually knowing it was coming, our operation and logistics units fit perfectly in the country’s drive to lower community spread; hence we experienced rapid growth and grew our business by 150% year vs. year during the pandemic,“- remembers Mr. Lukenge.
Building An Unique Ecosystem to Support Remote Regions
With the help of Mr. Lukenge’s visionary leadership, NEXIM has become one of the very few healthcare staffing firms that have created a distinctive ecosystem to support organizations in remote locations with third-party staffing services without passing on high costs for short-term stays and logistics. NEXIM assists its clients in reducing their costs while still maintaining margins for itself by combining its expertise in real estate, vehicle fleet management, and management services.
NEXIM is one of Canada’s very few 24/365/7 days completely staffed healthcare staffing organizations. It provides seamless scheduling, intake, and timesheet tracking via a technology suite that combines scheduling, payroll, and accounting into one. This enables NEXIM’s clients to monitor staff on shifts from the comfort of their homes to the site with digital time cards used for payment and invoicing.
Looking at The Future
Presently NHCI is diversifying around its core services of providing third-party services to the healthcare industry. NHCI is also planning to set up a countrywide PCC network to help train both social and healthcare workers and to help quickly integrate IEHPs into the Canadian labor force.
Also, through NEXIM’s philanthropic program NIDO, Mr. Lukenge intends to increase the number of scholarships for East and South African students to 10k yearly. Presently, through its 4E framework, NIDO provides scholarships to 400 students. Additionally, through the NIDO program, Mr. Lukenge aspires to help healthcare organizations with their international healthcare staff recruitment plans while helping them craft faster integration protocols for IEHPs.
“We are taking NEXIM Canada-wide though remodeling a dilapidated commercial unit which we are equipping to become a large Hub in the city of Hamilton, which will contain operations, shared services, and logistics unit hired based on the different time zones In Canada ,”- he says.
Entrepreneurship is a Game of Patience
Mr. Lukenge believes entrepreneurship is a game of patience, persistence, discipline, and comfort in loneliness; for the most part, an entrepreneur will work alone toward a business and idea. So, he suggests that young entrepreneurs should never forget it’s a long journey whose results can even take years to manifest, so when things do not work on their time, they should not despair.
“For those starting out, I can say that– our society or world has many needs or problems; find a way to solve one at a price that few can beat and let everyone know about it. Be disciplined and patient in a delay while working hard but find time to play. Remember to bring as many people with you as you can. The rest will take care of itself,”- he concludes.